Today we meet Michele Laterza, Corporate Communications & PR manager
With regard to language, the subject of corporate communication is very important. What do we mean when we talk about ‘corporate communications’?
What is meant is a fundamental strategic lever for creating, maintaining and strengthening the trust that is established between companies and their target audiences, both within and outside of the organisation.
It goes without saying that the effects it aims to produce have different facets depending on the target: pride, a sense of belonging, commitment to and participation in achieving a common goal (if we are thinking of an internal audience); knowledge, consideration and preference, for example, if we go outside.
In any case, corporate communications aim to protect and enhance the image and, above all, the reputation of the company over time.
In what way?
Through the dissemination of information to key stakeholders, developing messages that refer to the company’s strategic plan, of which they are the declination.
Adopting a corporate communication approach, therefore, means communicating that the company is a unitary entity, enhancing its unique personality and distinctive identity, managing the coherence of the narratives that revolve around it, passing through different channels and touching multiple interlocutors: colleagues, authorities, institutions, consumers, suppliers, competitors, investors, media and local communities.
Given the breadth of the range of action, the issues covered by corporate communications are also the most varied and transversal. An example above all is that of communication on the theme ‘sustainability’, which aims to enhance the company’s efforts to integrate social and environmental concerns at all stages of the process, organising messages, channels and narratives in a coherent way and finding its own tone of voice that differentiates it from others. But it is not only this. Crisis communication, company results, values, significant events such as acquisitions, demergers and integrations all fall within the issues addressed. Basically all the actions that the company carries out and which have a significant impact on one or more of its target audiences.
How is corporate communications articulated in Mutti? What are its ‘core’ elements?
In everything I have told you about so far, with one characteristic that is particularly evident: our communication is factual, linked to results and evidence, easily verifiable by the recipients of our narrative. In these first 9 months that I have been working on this, we have shared concrete messages that were in profound and authentic harmony with reality. I am thinking of the donation made to the Ospedale Maggiore in Parma when the Covid-19 emergency broke out, as well as the latest innovation by Mutti, the ‘Sul Campo’ sauce project, the first to be produced directly at the tomato harvesting site.
Our communication is based on certain pillars: quality, respect for people and the environment, care, attention, continuous improvement. Our organisation’s work on corporate communications, which, together with other corporate functions, such as Human Resources and Marketing, aims to identify the key messages of the organisation in order to work in an integrated manner on Mutti’s purpose and to help the group’s unique and distinctive heritage emerge and be known. These messages will make up our Corporate Narrative Book, which will also be accompanied by the company’s corporate guidelines, always with a view to total coherence between actions and messages.
And who does the Mutti Corporate Narrative Book project involve?
It is a project that concerns all Mutti people, because it serves to tell, to record in black and white, what Mutti is and, therefore, to record who we are as we bring a piece of ourselves to work every day.
It also concerns all employees because it is a communication project and communication without collaboration makes no sense.
If the messages we identify are not used first by us – every time we deal with our interlocutors – whether they are customers, suppliers, journalists or contributors, it does make any sense to have identified them in the first place.
The goal is to outline, in an increasingly strong and distinctive way, our group’s identity, which grows and changes at the speed of light, so as to obtain (first of all for our own understanding!) a clear vision of who we are and what we want to become, in order to be able to effectively transmit it externally.
What results are you expecting?
I expect important but gradual results, which grow as the company itself evolves, because the goal of this work is to create a culture of corporate communication, as a strategic lever to enhance and make everyone’s work more effective. Since we are in the agricultural and food sector, we can describe the work as sowing seeds, caring, paying attention and listening, which, in the long run, as in our case, always pays off. Of course, then in the meantime other things must and will happen, but the result that I hope most to see is the immense value of the heritage of this company emerge in a clear and powerful way for the benefit of all its stakeholders. Much has already been done from this point of view in these 120 years of the company’s history, but there are still several opportunities to be seized, and that is exactly what we want to do.
What are your wishes for the near future?
My desire is to continue to have fun doing my job, just as I have been so far, and to be able to find new ways to include, through the use of words, and therefore through communication, more and more people, making them aware of the history of quality and commitment behind every single bottle of Mutti tomato sauce or can of tomato pulp that they choose to bring into their homes. Communication can be a very strong tool for inclusion when it is based on concrete and coherent actions and when you manage to find this correspondence, you cannot wish for better.